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Discussion Starter #41
Long Overdue Update 8

Now it's starting to look like a car again and it nice not having to worry about rust damages coming back to haunt me years later:
20180204_160216 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20180204_160509 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20180210_154728 by 7T02S, on Flickr


The old firewall is staying there as a jig for the rear section. Once the rear section is tacked together, I'll be removing the firewall, torque box, and front frame rails:
20180211_101131 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Hard to see but a new, one piece lower cowl is in place with the original upper cowl. Seems to fit decently.
20180211_104520 by 7T02S, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Long Overdue Update 10

I've decided the secret to success to aligning all these new parts together is assembling as much of the car as possible before tack welding. Lots of clamps, vise grips, and clecos are mandatory.


I started by "stitching" (with clecos) the rear quarter panels to the rocker panels because that seemed like the most logical place to start aligning everything.
20180512_101244 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20180512_101240 by 7T02S, on Flickr



More clecos holding the truck divider to the quarter structure:
20181226_125439 by 7T02S, on Flickr



The other key to success it door alignment. They must have good gaps and open, close and latch properly.
20180224_153004 by 7T02S, on Flickr

At this point the doors are hung on hinges. Door latches installed. New window regulators and door windows installed. Got to make sure the windows are going to seal. The next two pictures are jumping forward in time...
20180225_125302 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Here's where I run into my first problem but validating that it's important to assemble everything before doing any welding - the rear of both windows doesn't touch the seal. On both windows.
20190203_114937 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Basically the door pillars (B-pillars) are too far back to match up with the front of the quarter thus making the drip rail molding not sit close enough to the window. I tried my best to pull the door frame forward but things just didn't want to cooperate - mainly because to pull that section forward, the A-piller and kick panels needed to move forward but they didn't really allow for it. At this point, tried solving the puzzle several different ways. The other issue was the A-pillar wasn't at the same angle of the wing window frame - tight at the top and wide at the bottom.


My hunch was both door frame assemblies weren't really welded together at the right overall dimensions.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Long Overdue Update 11 - Summer Break 2018

At this point (Summer 2018), I needed step away from the mustang project since I was left with too many alignment problems to solve and do some other projects that actually had an end in sight. It's all about the small wins.


This is my 68 Chevy C10 (Sorry I'm a Chevy guy too!). I did the entire restoration back in high school in the late 1990's. I worked at a body shop so did all the paint and body myself.
20180808_065640B by 7T02S, on Flickr



The old fuel tank was leaking so I decided to install a 49 chevy car tank with an in-tank EFI fuel pump to feed my 98 Corvette LS1.
20180506_104441 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20180715_133533 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20180721_174857 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20180805_144010 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20180805_144030 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Then decided to install a new dual exhaust, which also had me doing some fab and welding:
20180930_124735 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Once I got it back up and running again, I made it to my work's annual car show and won the best paint award! :smile2: Not bad for 21 year old paint!
 

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Discussion Starter #45
Long Overdue Update 12

Ok, now I've successfully up to the current month on Mustang photos. I've gotten back on the horse, so to speak, and made some big break throughs on all the alignment issues I was facing.


I decided I need to cut the spot welds at the top of the A-pillars-to-roof-side-support on both door frames to allow me to pull the B-pillars forward and re-angle the A-piller to match the angle of the wing windows. This took a lot of decision making to make sure I actually wanted to cut into each of the $1200 door frame assemblies (each)...
20190203_094142 by 7T02S, on Flickr


15 spots welds later:
20190203_101935 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Not shown is cutting the welds on the passenger side too.



Now to fashion up a frame machine to pull the B-pillars forward and angle up the A-pillars.

20190223_103324 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20190223_103332 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Now things are really starting to align and the solution path seems clear although lots of measuring still needs to be done. Once I cut those joints, I realized the whole back of the car needed to re-aligned so most of the clamps came back off to reposition all the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #46 (Edited)
Long Overdue Update 13

Once I started aligning (trying to align) the back of the car, I realized I needed some help. How the heck did the factory assemble all of these to fit? Oh yeah, they had jigs and an assembly order. I'm breaking all the rules here. That's why I'm having to make sure the doors, all the windows and decklid are all going to fit.


How do you ensure the rear window opening is going to work? Well you make a jig! Before I cut apart the car, I took down lots and lots of measurements - cross dimensions inside the car, window openings, heights off the top of the jig, etc. Those measurements are all great but the proof is in the assembly. The rear window is just too cumbersome to lift up there and use as a jig, so I made a frame to mimic the window. Here I have some 1/2 square tubing over the rear window covered in paper:
20181227_141559 by 7T02S, on Flickr

Not shown is the cross brace welded into the frame to keep it square.

It's the exact size of the window so I'm next going to add on some spacers to mimic the seal thickness to that I can install it in the window opening and clamp it in place so it will square everything up, ensuring that the quarter panels are at the right angle and distance to each other, and make sure the roof and rear panel divider panel are also at the right dimension apart and parallel to each other. That's key!
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Long Overdue Update 14 - Lasers

Ok, now we are all the up to yesterday with this update:


I've been having trouble trying to figure out how to measure things, leveling things, squaring things up, and ensuring assembly of all the parts. The thing is is that all these new parts, or old for that matter, don't really lend themselves to measuring. That's why I made the rear window jig. Make sure the window and seal fits, then it doesn't matter what they measure out to be.


That all said, you still need to make sure the left side of the car aligns with the right side in height, aligned to each other fore to aft, and have the same cross dimensions (to ensure squareness). I've been trying real hard to figure out how to get this all right then it dawned on me I needed some virtual measuring planes. That where LASERS come into play. Contractors use rotating auto-leveling lasers to ensure structures and pads are at the right slope or level to the world. That's a good starting point - a horizontal leveling plane. But that only solves one plane. In my research, I found that I should buy a three plane, auto-leveling, spinning laser head! I've decided that is going to fix all my problems - well at least with this project :wink:


You can see the black and green laser head projecting three planes onto the car, floor, walls, and ceiling. I finally realized I can set up the longitudinal vertical plane with the centerline of the car and that will make the lateral vertical plane (seen projecting onto the door frame) a perfect plane to align parts to. Not only that, the longitudinal plane will allow me to draw (with sharpie) the centerline of the car on the fire wall and rear floor for reference and future laser setup. Now I have something to project onto the tail light panel to make sure it's centered up, make sure the door frames are aligned fore and aft properly, and ensure the heights are good left to right. Nice! :pirate:


20190224_125354 by 7T02S, on Flickr


The projected centerline on the ceiling also provides a perfect spot to hang a plumb bob from later on if needed:

20190224_125339 by 7T02S, on Flickr



20190224_125418 by 7T02S, on Flickr
 

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And I thought my project was ambitious! I'm using a complete Dynacorn body and have some gap issues at the rear quarters near the side scoop area. Don't think I can get in there with a spot weld cutter to break it loose so I'm thinking about cutting a slit in the offending area, massaging it a little then welding it back up. Also, I'm going to have to check my A pillar angles to insure I don't have the same problems you had.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
And I thought my project was ambitious! I'm using a complete Dynacorn body and have some gap issues at the rear quarters near the side scoop area. Don't think I can get in there with a spot weld cutter to break it loose so I'm thinking about cutting a slit in the offending area, massaging it a little then welding it back up. Also, I'm going to have to check my A pillar angles to insure I don't have the same problems you had.

I would still say your project is ambitious! Are you talking about the spot welds below the scoops, where the quarter folds inward and spot welds to the top of the rocker panel? If so, I was able to get in there with a spot weld cutter. I used a HF right angle pneumatic drill with a cutter. I don't recall if I used my shorty from the MAC tools truck or the HF ones you can order online.



Sometimes I wished I purchased the Dynacorn door frame kits in which all the sheetmetal parts come not welded together. That said, I'm already having issues figuring out how to align everything together so it would probably be a nightmare lol. I ordered the assemblies that were already welded together and it's clear there's some pretty big shifts between some of the panels.
 

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The door gaps are good except for the area next to the rear quarter scoop area. I first thought it was the door, but a straight edge proved it was the rear quarter at the door jamb gap was too wide by approximately 1/8". It's the same for both sides. If I were to cut the spot welds at the quarter/door jamb area, I could move the door jamb forward a little then I would have to refold the flange. Or I could make a vertical cut the rear quarter at scoop/door jamb area, then using a porta-power move the door jamb 1/8" forward, then weld in some material to cover the cut. I also have another issue at the rear of the quarters, the trunk drop offs were welded improperly, the quarters partially cover the drain holes in the drop offs at the rear of the wheel well area. I'm not going to worry too much about that one though.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
The door gaps are good except for the area next to the rear quarter scoop area. I first thought it was the door, but a straight edge proved it was the rear quarter at the door jamb gap was too wide by approximately 1/8". It's the same for both sides. If I were to cut the spot welds at the quarter/door jamb area, I could move the door jamb forward a little then I would have to refold the flange. Or I could make a vertical cut the rear quarter at scoop/door jamb area, then using a porta-power move the door jamb 1/8" forward, then weld in some material to cover the cut. I also have another issue at the rear of the quarters, the trunk drop offs were welded improperly, the quarters partially cover the drain holes in the drop offs at the rear of the wheel well area. I'm not going to worry too much about that one though.

Is the jam on the quarter-panel side at least straight from top to bottom? One way to fix door gaps is to weld round-rod to the end of the door, everywhere where you need a smaller gap. You then grind the rod away until there is equal door gap everywhere, then do your finish grinding to make it look like the original door. That's the route I would go down if I were you since you're talking about major surgery the other way. I'm planning to use the round-rod technique to get my door gaps all perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Late July 2019 Update

I've been making some good progress. I'll be uploading about 4 months of update photos here.


First step was to finish up the trunk divider. I cut out and fabricated quite a few pieces that were rusted out as show in previous posts. This photo shows some paint applied to the upper area.
20190330_153925 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Once I got the trunk divider done, I started reassembling body panels.
20190406_113137 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Next step was to start making sure all the windows are going to fit, as I previously mentioned. The windows, door fits, door/window seals are the key to making sure everything is aligned.
20190615_095749 by 7T02S, on Flickr


After a bit of work, I got the passenger door, window, wing window, and window seals to line up perfectly. I reached the point where I said Eff-it, I'm welding the door pillars in place!
20190601_135141 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20190601_135118 by 7T02S, on Flickr


20190601_142309 by 7T02S, on Flickr


That was an important step. Why? I finally got one of the major components welded and frozen in place. When I had both sides of the car; door pillars, roof braces, roof, quarter panels, tail light panel - everything was just clamped together. Nothing was "committed." I knew I could also un-clamp everything and start over if I had some panels not aligning, including the door pillars/opening. By having one side fixed, it finalized on piece of the gigantic alignment puzzle... It also got me one door that opened and aligned perfectly, along with a window that actually sealed up everywhere it needed to seal up. Prior to this, my window seals didn't have the right gaps, and now they did! Yes!
 

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Discussion Starter #55
Late July 2019 Update 2

Drivers side:


Now that the passenger side door pillars and A-pillar-to-roof-brace joint was welded in place, it was time to start working on the drivers side. After a month or so of moving panels and structure around, I finally got this side too.



In order to get these dynacorn door frame assembly to, I previously showed that I had to cut a bunch of spot welds at the top of the A-pillar on both side of the car. Well, I found out I need to break more spot welds to make the A-pillar work on the driver's side because the angle of the A-pillar didn't even come close to matching the wing window.
20190629_113319 by 7T02S, on Flickr


Here's a close up with the column shifted. It doesn't look like much rotation, but it provided a big change and did the job.

20190629_113326 by 7T02S, on Flickr


I finally got the driver's side door-frame-assembly all aligned. I also got the front and rear roof supports aligned. In this photo, all 8 points (shown with circles) are nicely tacked into place!

20190701_075337 by 7T02S, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Late July 2019 Update 3

Roof Joints Welded:


After the framework was all tacked into place, I spent a while making sure the doors, quarters, taillight panel, and roof all were exactly where they needed to be. I have some future adjustments to really make the decklid fit since the dynacorn quarters push the decklid about a 1/4" too far to the rear. I decided I have a couple options to fix that and I could finish welding the roof braces into place.



Close up of the front and rear roof joints. To make them extra legit, I not only spot welded; I also plug welded AND stitch welded!






Now I'm left with a stout structure to start my next steps:
 

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Discussion Starter #57
Late July 2019 Update 4 - Wheel Well Mods

Now onto some well needed modification, and a little fun. Wheel well mods!


There's a tight pinch point at the front, inside of the rear wheel wells that many people take a sledge to if they have problems fitting bigger tires. I've had this planned for a while and finally got it going. I was able to ease this pinch point by around an inch. Here's the rear floor area with the wheel well removed. I drew a red line showing where the pinch point is - basically the floor curves outward at the red arrow




By making the red mark, parallel with the centerline of the car, it gave me a good line to re-bend the floor edge to. Here you can see the floor bent to my red line and the un-modified wheel well in place. You can now see the difference more clearly.




Now to see if my plan would actually work. I was going to make a slice on the wheel well and bend it to match the floor. Here are the two cuts I needed to make to allow the well to bend inward to match my new flange.




Fast forward one week, to today - I finish welded the well's new opening with some new metal.






Looks kind of ugly but I this is the stitching it takes to keep from heating the metal up too much and to hopefully grind off without needing followup welding.





Mission accomplished!



Here's a close up of the flange re-bent and showing the 1" more clearance I gained.



Here's a view of a test fit of a tire close to what I might fit in there eventually. I think it's a 265/40r17. Fit in there with lot of clearance without even rolling the fender lip, which I'll do eventually. I think I could easily tuck in a 275 or 285 once I roll the lip. Feels good actually doing a few performance mods after all this time!



Now I have to weld up the passenger side and start epoxy priming all the joints and start welding in all those body panels to the unibody!!! :pirate:



Cheers!
 

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Now onto some well needed modification, and a little fun. Wheel well mods!

There's a tight pinch point at the front, inside of the rear wheel wells that many people take a sledge to if they have problems fitting bigger tires. I've had this planned for a while and finally got it going.

Looks kind of ugly but I this is the stitching it takes to keep from heating the metal up too much and to hopefully grind off without needing followup welding.
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Nice job. Did the exact same thing on my build. Have fitted a 275 on back of my 65 but could probably stuff a 285.
I measured to the furthest point I could go without messing with the factory interior and moved it over that far.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Nice job. Did the exact same thing on my build. Have fitted a 275 on back of my 65 but could probably stuff a 285.
I measured to the furthest point I could go without messing with the factory interior and moved it over that far.

Looks like we made nearly identical cuts. Great minds think alike :wink:
 
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